She says, he says: Porsche Boxster
Sally Dominguez and Matt Campbell assess the credentials of the German sports car brand's most affordable convertible.PT2M54S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2cdid 620 349 January 8, 2013
How much? $107,000 plus on-road costs
Vital statistics: 2.7-litre horizontally-opposed six-cylinder; 195kW/280Nm; six-speed manual; 8.2L/100km and 192g/km CO2; RWD
He: Why would you buy a Porsche 911 Cabriolet? After spending some time in the new Porsche Boxster, I'm flabbergasted that people would spend more than twice as much for a 911 when this thing is so damn good.
She: It's funny, I bet Porsche didn't think for a minute that this little guy could cannibalise the revered 911, but the perfectly honed and balanced Boxster really throws down the gauntlet. The facelift helps the presence of the car enormously, and the cabin is inspired by the 911 ... Did someone say coup d'etat?
He: They call it "putsch" in German, and it's easy to see why you describe it that way, because the Boxster could overthrow the head honcho – and it outsells the 911 by three to one because it argues so strongly on value. Back to the cabin – our car had a full "natural leather" interior that costs almost $8000 and was finished in one of the most eye-catching (or gaudy) reds I've ever seen inside a car. Did you dig it?
She: As much as anyone could enjoy an experience akin to sitting inside a cow's stomach. I am not a fan of wall to wall blood-red leather. And I found that bordello flamboyance at odds with the purity of the engineering and the drive experience in this car. I would option those 20-inch Carrera S wheels, though. Otherwise there is enough magic in that 2.7-litre engine to spare me all the optional extras, unless I could option some additional in-cabin storage. Enough stash spots for you Matt?
He: Not even close. Almost everywhere I go I take a large water bottle with me, and it didn't fit in the flip-out cup-holders, nor was there any other option for it. It meant the red carpet ended up wet. At least there is decent stowage in the "frunk" (front trunk) and a small bit in behind the engine at the back. You mentioned the engine – it's smaller now than in the model it replaces, but I wasn't left wanting for power. Were you?
She: I would not have picked the down-size – the balance of the car was brilliant and it felt perfectly powered. Interesting that Porsche continue to feature a cloth roof when many have turned to metal. Mazda has managed a folding hard top only a couple of kilograms heavier than the fabric version on the MX-5. Do you think soft is a bit – well, soft?
He: Obviously you get a bit more peace-of-mind with a hard-top in terms of safety and security, but I'd happily forego them if it meant I could lift and drop the lid fully automatically at speeds up to 50km/h, and in just nine seconds. The Mazda's lid takes longer and can't be opened at speed. I think the best thing about the Boxster is the way it copes with sporty driving or city commuting. Did you like the ride?
She: Good point on the roof – I like to be able to pop it on the run. The suspension on a fairly bumpy road is that perfect balance of "hard enough to feel sporty" and soft enough to feel luxurious. The super-comfy seats, direct steering and suspension that takes the edge off rough spots combine to make for a really satisfying drive. And it wasn't too blowy either.
He: It really is a fantastically composed sports convertible, and given the means, I'd certainly buy one to put in the garage. But adding all those options does make the price jump. The wheels on our test-car, for example, were $8470, and the total price, before on-road costs, was $128,700. Certainly not a cheap car, but a bargain compared to the 911 Cabriolet (from $254,600).
She: What? Those are some opulent options, so let me reconsider: I don't need the wheels, the base Boxster would do me. It's a beautifully calibrated machine and it's looking better than ever. If I could kick a big enough goal I would buy one in a jiffy. Not so the 911, which has never been on my wish-list, simply because at that price there are lots of other play-toys I might prefer. But the Boxster is so much bigger than the sum of its parts, it's a rock-star ride.